Credit Statham for trying something at least a little different. But history is full of action stars stretching and failing (Stop! Or my Mom will shoot. Jingle all the way. Anything Steven Seagal did after Marked for Death.)
While Redemption won’t end up in that den of ignominy, it will likely sink without trace. Some small mercy for Statham I would argue…
Ex-soldier Joseph Jones finds himself homeless on the streets of London, blending in with the other unfortunates looking to hide or escape something or other. It is when Jones attempts to escape a beating from local thugs preying on the defenceless that he lucks into a lush, well appointed flat (that apparently has no security or alarms of any kind. With the news that the owner is overseas for several months to come, Jones settles in and makes the prime pad his own. The only difference now being that with the owner’s credit cards and cash he can now afford to drink his nightmares away in style.
After a short time spent wallowing, Jones decides to momentarily straighten up. Firstly on the straight and narrow, but it isn’t long before he is putting his ‘skills’ to use on behalf of vicious criminals. All the while a kindly and pure nun that knew Jones from his ‘soup kitchen dining’ days, tries to convince him of the error of his ways.
Redemption muddles along in a confused fashion. It keeps hinting that Jones is to move in one direction, but he just as swiftly veers in another with no rational explanation. It is hard for the character and the film to make a moral stance of any kind when they are themselves so morally selective. Am I really supposed to feel empathy for the guy who beats random people senseless for money? Am I then to tear up when he laments his own ‘lost’ family?
Most importantly: is it alright to cover over many misdemeanours of varying magnitude with pizzas and cash?
Without the action of other Statham films to cover over the cracks in the plot and value system of the film, Redemption will find itself alone on DVD racks, waiting for only the die-hardest of Statham supporters to sniff it out.
That’s the only reason I found it.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. It is usually when genre stars venture beyond their comfort zone, that you realise just why they should stay in their lane. Statham is an ‘action star’, not an ‘acting star’.